“Native title is not Land Rights and Reconciliation is not Justice” – Gary Foley at Sam Watson’s funeral 6 December 2019.
Paradigm Shift Friday 28 Feb 2020 4ZZZ fm 102.1 at noon.
Yesterday on Thursday 27th Feb I drove out to Deebing Creek near Ipswich about an hour from Brisbane. I went via the Centenary Highway and arrived near Stage I of a housing development at a roundabout where the Centenary highway converges with Grampian Drive and Pisasale Drive. The latter was named after Ipswich former mayor Paul Pisasale now in jail for corruption. Surely authorities should review the name of that road?
Along Grampian Drive on one side were new houses and on the other side was bushland. I could see two camps in the bush both with aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags waving. The bushland was similar to country where I grew up in the 1950s. A place called Moggill just across the Brisbane River from Ipswich was a farming dairy and pineapple growing district.
Some Aboriginal land sat idle after colonisation – the bora rings, middens, carvings, scar trees and rock art remained relatively untouched Aboriginal people were rounded up and put on missions like Deebing Creek. So I parked at the end of Grampian Drive and began walking over country. Along the way I saw Nissan huts left there by the army, the old mission and school were only visible through the large Palms and old trees planted nearby so many years ago. The ground is sandy loam and the grass lush after rain with creek flowing into small lagoons. High Tension power lines cross the land. They head toward the Swanbank Power station along an easement in the bushland once the sole preserve of the Yuggera people.
Now land has become valuable – small blocks with houses covering 90% of the blocks and selling from $328,000 says the developer sign across the road. This may seem cheap to people living in Brisbane but houses are squashed together, no trees or gardens can grow on these blocks. The authorities who allowed this cared little about the quality of townships like Ripley just around the corner from Deebing Creek.
State governments only wished to provide cheap dwellings for workers needed to service South-East Queensland. It was Queen Victoria who stole the land from aboriginal people.
Now the land has become valuable deals have to be done. Governments and NGOs report alarming statistics of drug use, domestic violence, family breakdown, youth incarceration and suicide.
Developers like STOCKLAND, A V JENNINGS and FRASERS want the land. Two groups have challenged them – one under the banner of sovereignty and the other under the banner of traditional ownership and native title. Negotiations are being conducted with the native title holders but not the sovereignty group.
Ian interviews Karen Coghill from Justice for Debbing Creek and Jim Dodrill President of Ipswich Ratepayers & Residents Assoc and IRATE.
Special guest is Colin Hewitt, President of the Local Government Reform Alliance.